Chaim Topol as Milos Colombo, gregarious smuggler and pistachio addict
St. Cyril’s, Greece, Spring 1981
Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Wardrobe Master: Tiny Nicholls
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Continuing my commemoration of my favorite of Roger Moore’s James Bond adventures, For Your Eyes Only, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, today also marks the 86th birthday of Chaim Topol. Born September 9, 1935, the Israeli actor may be best known for his memorable performance as Tevye the Dairyman in the stage and screen versions of Fiddler on the Roof, though he also has a significance for Bond fans as 007’s charismatic ally Milos Colombo in For Your Eyes Only.
Penned by Bond regulars Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson, For Your Eyes Only brought Bond back to Earth after his outer space adventures in Moonraker and his deep-sea Lotus-diving in The Spy Who Loved Me. Maibaum and Wilson turned to Ian Fleming’s source material, specifically the short stories “For Your Eyes Only” and “Risico”, the latter originating the characters of Colombo and his smuggling rival, Aristotle Kristatos.
As usual, For Your Eyes Only finds Bond and his allies preparing to infiltrate the villain’s lair, only 007’s team is a small crew of six—including Colombo and the vengeance-seeking Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet)—and Kristatos (Julian Glover) is holed up not with an identically dressed army in a hollowed-out volcano but instead biding his time in a mountaintop monastery with a few select henchmen and a bratty figure-skater.
What’d He Wear?
Bond, Melina, and Colombo’s team are certainly dressed for the action-packed task ahead, but Colombo himself looks a little more prepared for a nightclub than daytime combat. Indeed, if someone were watching the scene without the context of who Roger Moore or James Bond are, they may mistake Colombo as the central protagonist as he’s dressed like the quintessential cinematic action hero in a less-than-practical all black, anchored by his cool leather jacket.
The attire is consistent with Colombo’s image of himself, an individualistic renegade whose entire, decades-long criminal career has been building up to this climax with his erstwhile partner-turned-rival Kristatos. For Bond, this is just another job; for Colombo, it’s personal.
Colombo’s black leather jacket takes some styling cues from the classic “café racer” that emerged in England, following the development of the Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket in the late 1920s. His hip-length jacket shares the short standing mandarin-style collar of the sleek racer-style jacket, fastening up the front with a black plastic-toothed zipper that Colombo leaves open throughout the scene.
Horizontal seams split the center of the body and the raglan sleeves, which each end in a short pointed tab that closes through a single button—though Colombo leaves those open as well. A short buckle-tab adjusts the fit around the waist on each side of the hem, and the back has an inverted box-pleat through the center to allow for greater range of motion. The pocket on the right side has a slanted welt opening, and the set-in pocket on the left is covered by a pointed pocket flap extending down from the seam.
As stated, Colombo layers the jacket over black underpinnings. The black long-sleeved shirt has a silky finish, though it may be made from rayon or a rayon blend, consistent with trending fabrics at the dawn of the ’80s. The shirt has black buttons up the narrow front placket and on the cuffs. There are two chest pockets, each detailed with a horizontal yoke and mitred lower corners.
Colombo wears his shirt tucked into black flat front trousers which have prominently swelled side seams and plain-hemmed bottoms. The trousers are held up by a black leather belt that has an intricate gold-plated buckle that suggests a top designer, similar to the leatherwear from Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci that Roger Moore had worn as Bond over the previous decade. Colombo evidently carries his pistol in his waistband or pocket, though he keeps his combat knife holstered in a brown leather sheath attached to the back-right of his belt.
Perhaps the most practical part of Colombo’s wardrobe are his black leather sneakers. All black aside from the gum rubber soles, these apron-toe, derby-laced trainer shoes are subdued enough to not provide a jarring contrast against the all-black nature of his smart casual outfit while also serving the practical purpose of providing him with more traction while running and fighting on the rougher terrain of St. Cyril’s.
By the early 1980s, SEIKO had been well-established as the official watch brand of the James Bond franchise, with 007 himself and even minor characters like Sir Timothy Havelock wearing these trusty Japanese timepieces on their wrists. Colombo’s stainless steel dive watch is best seen during these climactic scenes, detailed with a black dial that has luminous hour markers. The tapered steel bracelet with its squared, three-piece links resembles neither the coffin-link nor H-link styles of watch bracelets that SEIKO used during this era… though that doesn’t mean Colombo isn’t wearing a SEIKO.
Colombo wears two gold rings on the third finger of his left hand. The chunkier ring, worn toward the front of his finger, has a squared surface engraved with what appears to be a snake. He stacks this in front of a slimmer ring that has the smaller, rounded surface of a signet ring.
Colombo arms himself for the assault with a FÉG Tokagypt 58, a Hungarian-made copy of the Tokarev service pistol that had been developed by Soviet Russia during the years leading up to World War II. Even 40 years after For Your Eyes Only, the Tokagypt’s screen appearances have been limited, according to IMFDB, which explains that Colombo’s pistol can be cosmetically differentiated from the Tokarev by the added manual safety on the left side in addition to bulkier but more ergonomic brown Bakelite plastic grips.
The Russians introduced the Tokarev during the 1930s, when it was designated the TT-30 and TT-33 service pistol. It had been initially chambered in the proprietary 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge, though eventual export to other Soviet bloc countries led to its adaptation for a more universal cartridge, specifically the 9x19mm Parabellum that had been originally developed for the German Luger pistol in 1908.
The Hungarian firearms firm Fegyver és Gépgyár (FÉG) began producing its own TT-33 copy, re-barreled to fire 9mm and known as the Pisztoly 48.M. A decade later, the Egyptian Army contracted FÉG to deliver 30,000 pistols. FÉG had already started fulfilling the order when the Egyptian Army canceled the contract, and the remaining TT-9P pistols were sold commercially, marketed as the Tokagypt 58 (a portmanteau of “Tokarev” and “Egypt” with 1958 denoting the year of production.)
How to Get the Look
Wearing all black may look like you’re trying too hard to be an action hero, but that’s precisely what Milos Colombo has in mind when he and his commando team bring his decades-long association-turned-feud with Kristatos to a crescendo on a quiet Greek mountaintop. Whether he survives or dies during the mission, Colombo knows this will be the defining moment of his personal and professional lives and dresses the part of the archetypal movie badass.
- Black leather racer-style jacket with short standing collar, raglan sleeves with button cuffs, slanted right-side pocket, flapped set-in left-side pocket, and waist hem adjuster tabs
- Black silky rayon long-sleeved shirt with front placket, two chest pockets, and button cuffs
- Black flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black leather designer belt with unique gold-plated buckle
- Black leather apron-toe derby-laced sneakers with gum rubber soles
- Black socks
- Gold chunky ring with square, snake-engraved face
- Gold signet ring
- Stainless steel dive watch with round black dial and tapered steel three-piece link bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.